04/21/2012 10:41AM

2012 Kentucky Derby: Desormeaux eyes a 4th Derby win with Dullahan

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Blue Grass Stakes winner Dullahan is "as live as they come," said jockey Kent Desormeaux.

LOUISVILLE. Ky. - Kent Desormeaux has had two Kentucky Derby rides since he won the race for the third time in 2008 with favored Big Brown, those mounts being Hold Me Back (12th at 12-1 in 2009) and Paddy O’Prado (third at 12-1 in 2010). The 42-year-old Hall of Fame jockey said he strongly believes his mount in the upcoming Derby, Dullahan, is as “live as they come” and that he would be greatly humbled if he were to join revered company by winning a fourth Derby.

“I am truly very excited about the opportunity, especially the type of horse that he is,” said Desormeaux, who guided Dullahan from well back to a 1 1/4-length triumph over Hansen last weekend in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

Both Desormeaux and Calvin Borel, who will ride Take Charge Indy in the 138th Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs, have a chance to join Bill Shoemaker as the only jockeys to win the Derby four times. Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack share the record with five wins each.

“Any Derby is incredible,” said Desormeaux. “That number is exciting, but just to win the Derby is hard to put into words. It’s actually why I’m still riding, to win the Derby again.”

Desormeaux noted that Dullahan ran the last three furlongs in the Blue Grass in about 35 seconds, and “he’s not going to get beat very often if he keeps doing that. It was scintillating.”

He added that in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall at Churchill, Dullahan “missed the start, so I’d like to see if we can leave the gate on even terms this time.”

Desormeaux will be joined at the Derby by his 19-year-old son, Joshua, but that his other son, 13-year-old Jacob, will have to stay home in Sierra Madre, Calif., with his mother, Sonia, Desormeaux’s ex-wife. Jacob suffers from a rare genetic disorder known as Usher syndrome but “is doing good right now,” said his father. “Everything is static.”